Luke Durbridge: ‘When the world champion rocks up it makes me lift my level’

The Mitchelton-Scott rider celebrates a second Aussie TT victory over Rohan Dennis

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Luke Durbridge has cause to celebrate early in 2020 after beating time trial world champion Rohan Dennis to the Australian national title for a second consecutive year.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Durbridge bested Dennis by 18 seconds in the southern state of Victoria on Wednesday (January 8) in the Australian National Time Trial Championships to take his fourth career title.

Durbridge says racing against Dennis helps motivate him in the early-season test.

The 28-year-old said: “It’s always a big benchmark when the world champion rocks up for the national titles and it makes me lift my level.

“A lot of work goes into this in December, a lot of support from back home, family, my wife Lara, coach Ben and the team. We all put a lot of effort in to train hard in the off-season but this is why you do it.”

Durbridge rode the 37.5km course at an average speed of 48.596km/h to finish in 46-18, knocking Dennis into the silver medal position.

Jumbo-Visma’s Chris Harper took bronze, 1-53 behind the winner.

World TT champion Dennis already has three Australian national jerseys to his name, having won the event in 2016, ’17 and ’18.

>>> Rohan Dennis feared developing an eating disorder after Grand Tour ambitions 

But the national title has eluded the 29-year-old for the last two years, after Durbridge also claimed the 2019 title by a 22-second margin over Dennis.

Durbridge said: “To win the national title is really special to me and I think that going into the Olympics this year that it’s a really good indicator that maybe there’s two spots up for grabs, and that both Rohan and I can take them which would be fantastic.”

He now has four Australian ITT titles to his name, having won his first back in 2012.

The Australian national championships will continue on Saturday with the under-23 road race, before the elite women’s and men’s titles are decided on Sunday.

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